Early Childhood Monograph Series: The Quality of Education and Care in Home-based Early Childhood Services (January 2009)* 01/01/2009

Overall performance of home-based early childhood services

This section summarises ERO’s findings about home-based early childhood services. ERO’s reports on individual services may be read on ERO’s website and are also available from the network of the home-based services. 

  • The philosophy of the services was reflected in practices that affirmed the value of children learning and being cared for in a home setting. The emphasis for all services was on establishing positive relationships with children and their families to support children’s wellbeing and learning.
  • Where programmes were of good quality, children had opportunities to participate regularly in a wide range of activities and experiences both in the home and beyond. Children had fun and learnt through their play. They were supported in developing their literacy and numeracy skills through everyday experiences and routines. In a few home-based services, children experienced a bicultural dimension to their programme. Home-based services were increasingly focusing on how to promote and extend children’s learning.
  • A quarter of services had a sound approach to assessment, planning and evaluation. In these services, coordinators helped educators to identify and build on children’s strengths and interests in order to promote and extend their learning and development. Many educators and coordinators needed further training and support to increase their understanding of assessment and to improve their assessment, planning and evaluation practice.
  • Learning environments were generally comfortable and stimulating. Most children had access to a wide range of appropriate equipment and learning resources, both indoors and outside, to support their play. Home settings provided good opportunities for children to learn from their involvement in regular household activities. More than half the services needed more rigorous monitoring of aspects of health and safety in private homes to be assured of children’s safety.
  • Interactions between adults and children were typically warm, caring, respectful and responsive. Educators were affectionate with children and the children were secure in their care. Educators made good use of their knowledge of the children and their family life when talking with children or responding to their needs, preferences and interests.
  • Most services met qualifications requirements for coordinators, as the persons responsible for each network. Expectations for educator qualifications varied from service to service.
  • Self review was under way in home-based services, with most managers and coordinators regularly reflecting on how to improve practice. Many services needed a more planned and systematic approach to self review to bring about ongoing improvement to outcomes for children. There was also scope for increased involvement of parents and whânau in the process of self review.
  • ERO had concerns about aspects of compliance in a third of services. Concerns related mainly to the inconsistent application and implementation of some requirements of the Home-based Care Order, and the ineffectiveness of some personnel management practices in bringing about improvement to the performance of coordinators and educators.

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